Habit Updates and November’s Challenge

Want a peak into our home about thirty minutes before we need to get somewhere?

9:30 “Kids, we need to leave soon. Time to clean up the schoolroom,” I say, and then hurry through the house, making sure the floors are tidied and the laundry is put away.

9:40 After stepping on at least twenty crumbs in the kitchen, I decide I simply can’t leave before sweeping.

9:43 As I sweep, I notice a couple icky spots on the floor. Ugh! Those spots really need to be wiped. So, I grab a rag and wipe them up.

9:45 “Oh no! Kids, we’ve got to get there in fifteen minutes,” I realize.  “Run to the bathroom and get your shoes on.”

9:48 “Mama, I can’t find my shoes!” Will says. I find them and put them on. Then take him to the bathroom.

9:50 “Rose, those shoes really don’t match,” I notice. “Run put the brown ones on.”

9:51 While she hurries to change shoes, I buckle the other kids in the van.

9:53 Kids are buckled and I get in the van, but realize my phone isn’t in my purse. Where could it be? I wonder, as I race back inside. I finally find it, in the kids’ room.

9:55 Dashing back to the van, we head off. We need to be there in five minutes, but it’s ten minutes away.

10:05 We pull up to the location. I get the kids unbuckled and out of the van. We walk inside.

10:10 We arrive. Ten minutes late and out of breath.

October Update: “Be on Time!” 

(Is the fact that this habit update is two days late, mean that I utterly failed October’s habit challenge: be on time? Hopefully not!)

How did I do this month? Better. I’ve consciously tried to be on time. I’ve looked up directions to see how long it will take, before leaving. I really focused on pushing our get-out-of-the-house pattern back a few minutes.

And, we have actually started getting places closer and closer to on time this month. We even managed to be early once (and a couple times, we would might have, but circumstances were out of my control.)

But notice how crazy our get-out-of-the-house routine is? It wasn’t until reading this post, Why You Should Get It Done Early, that I realized the problem that was staring me in the face: I was trying to cram in all sorts of other projects before getting ready to walk out the door. 

One Habit a Month: November

So what do I need to work on in November? Yep! Get ready first. And once the children and I are completely ready, if there’s plenty of time to spare, I can sweep the dirty floor.

Children’s Habit Update

I’m simply loving working on one habit at a time with the children. It’s so much easier and more fruitful than trying to instill twenty good habits at the same time!

This past month, we focused on developing a good bathroom routine. They have done so well. At first, Rose would say to herself, “Do the five things. Shut the lid, flush the toilet, wash my hands, turn off the light and shut the door.” Now, she generally just does it. Will also remembers well.

I’ve had to remind them occasionally, but it’s so nice to have it be something they generally just do. With no nagging from me.

One Children’s Habit a Month: November

Isn’t it so wonderful when a child looks you in the eyes and answers your question audibly and politely?

Rose and Will do a good job at home (for the most part) but when we’re out and about, it gets more difficult.  That’s what we’re going to work on this month!

What about you? Have you been working on a new habit? How is it going? 


One Habit a Month: Posture

(I’m took a break from adding to my herbal collection in June since I’d prefer moving as few little glass bottles as possible! I plan to be back with my monthly herbal additions next month.)

June was busy. July will probably be even busier. I struggled to work on my reading habit last month so plan to keep on working on it this month.

Rather than adding another habit that will require a time committment, this month’s habit won’t take even a second of time: work on good posture.

Good posture is something I’ve always struggled with. I’ve made excuses like, “I’m really tall” or “I’ve been pregnant/nursing most of the last six years.” If you try hard enough, you can make an excuse for anything!

Such lovely, rolled back shoulders! 

Honestly, I hadn’t even realized how bad my problem was until my brother took some candid video while the munchkins and I were up in Missouri. I’ve been working on sitting and standing up straight ever since watching it.

However, since I still have to remind myself 35 times a day, it is a habit I want to focus on all month. Maybe, just maybe, when we move home I can utterly surprise and shock my dear mom by no longer needing her reminders!

Hopefully you don’t have a posture problem, but maybe there’s some other personal habit you want to conquer. I’d love to have you join me!

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Six Months of Habits: Check-Up

June is over. 2012 is half over. Can you believe it? Though at times the waiting and waiting for answers about our next step seemed to drag on forever, in all other ways this year has flown by!

The monthly habit check-ups have been a great incentive for me. Since the habits are ones that I really wanted to incorporated into my life long-term, I thought it would be fun to look back on the habits from the first six months of this year and see if they have really made a difference in my days.

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January-Get dressed before breakfast. Though it’s such a small thing, getting dressed at the beginning of the day helped me feel more productive all day long. Since January I have changed my morning routine to make time to exercise [though two long trips in one month haven't helped on that front!] and prepare a better breakfast. So, some mornings I’m not dressed before breakfast. However, I no longer even want to linger around in my pajamas till noon. That is a change I hope stays with me!

February- establish a lunch routine. If schedules aren’t your thing, I would highly recommend adding basic morning, evening and lunch routines to your day. In February we worked on establishing a lunch routine and the change in my day has been wonderful! I keep on top of laundry better, the kitchen is cleaner and the munchkins and I are loving reading through chapter books together. Budgeting the time for these things has been very good for me.

March & April- establish technological guidelines. This spring I was nearing the point of techy obsession. It simply had to stop. I’m still not quite as disciplined as I’d like, but thankfully the online world doesn’t have quite the pull that it did before really focusing on saying “NO!” to technological distractions. It’s a habit I will probably still have to work on the rest of my life though.

May- Spend time outdoors daily. I love being outside in the spring and fall. When I have to contend with extreme summer or winter weather it’s much harder. I’m lazy that way. However, it’s worth it! I’ve missed a few days in June, but having worked on it in May makes it much easier to just get outside (first thing on these really hot days) Of course, once we’re outside it’s hard to want to come back in.

June-Establish a reading routine. Um, so hopefully you’re not still reading. I did really, really awful with this months habit. I’d like to blame it on two long road trips. However, I could have read more had I really made it a priority. July is going to be equally busy as we pack up our home, but I hope to do better and squeeze in time each day to read… even if it’s just one chapter.

What about you? Have you worked on any habits this year? How have they changed your days? 

One Habit a Month: Establish a Reading Routine

“Good habits, once established, are just as hard to break as are bad habits.”  – Robert Puller

I am good at making detailed schedules. I am not so good at following them.

However, basic routines help me to fit the important things, like reading to my children, into the fabric of my day.

Each month this year I am working on one new habit. (I would love to have you join me!)

In June, my goal is to establish a routine for personal reading. My reading goals for this summer are ambitious (at least for me) but if I work even 30 minutes of reading into each day, I should be able to finish them (or at least get close!)

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“You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them,” said Ray Bradbury.

As I spend more time online, I find myself reading in smaller chunks. A blog post here, half an article there and soon my reading time is over and I haven’t really concentrated on following complicated argument or reading an entire book.

It takes a lot more discipline to read a long, old book like  Confessions by Augustine or Josephus’ History than most online reading.

Much as I love reading blog posts (and writing them!) and love the easy accessibility of answers to my questions, once I’ve carefully selected a book to read, I don’t want to let the difficulty keep me from persevering.

Having a set time each day that is reserved for reading will motivate me to keep going and hopefully (to carry Lewis’ argument, On the Reading of Old Books, a little farther) balance my love for reading 500 word posts.

[Speaking of summer reading, last week I finished two books off my listI Dared to Call Him Father and Grow Your Home While Growing Your Blog (Review coming soon!)]

What about you? Are you working on any new habits? How do you fit in time to read? 

May’s Habit: How Did You Do?

Each month this year I have worked to weave a new habit into the fabric of my days.

After two months of working on the difficult, never-will-be-mastered habit of taming the technology monster, May’s habit was fun: get outside with the children for at least 15 minutes daily.

This is easy in the mild parts of the spring and fall. In the dead of winter and heat of summer it gets harder. However, the effort is worth it.

Little Meg loves being outside in her stroller! 

Here are some of our favorite things we did outside together in May:

  • Play at the fountain park
  • Make mud soup
  • Have a picnic
  • Work in our garden
  • Play “red light, green light”
  • Ride a friend’s horses
  • Go on walks
  • Play in the sand
  • Blow bubbles
  • Go to the park. Again and again and again. (The munchkins have finally mastered their fear of slides. Hurray… maybe!)

How about you? Did you work on a new habit this month? What’s your favorite thing to do outside.  

Linked up at Better Mom & Raising Arrows